Celebrating vibrant faith & gracious hospitality

The Growing Years

As the suburb developed in the early years there was a rapid growth in members attending the church. The church played an important role in the social and sporting life of the wider community. A tennis club was formed in 1920 and three years later a cricket club.

The first timber building was soon far too small for the weekly congregation and the duties required of the Minister too demanding to be met by a part time minister from Surrey Hills. The Trustees decided they needed a new building. The new church was to be a landmark and a fine brick building in the classic Methodist style of the day was planned. The memorial stone was unveiled in the autumn of 1925 by Miss Nettie Beckett in memory of her father.

Six months later, in August 1925, the new church was finished. It was known as the Robert Beckett Memorial church. The dedication was held on 1st August and conducted by the President of the Victorian Methodist Conference, Rev William Harris; the President General of the Australian Conference, Rev Dr E. H. Sugden, and the Rev Dr. A. E. Albiston. In 1928 the Rev H. Mervyn Knuckey became the first married minister to be appointed to the Highfield Road congregation. His ministry was to last five years.

There was something of a village atmosphere about the church in those days, as a row of shops, grocer, butcher, fruiterer, chemist and a circulating library, had been built opposite the church in Highfield Road (now occupied by the school oval).

One hundred and ninety nine was a good number to achieve at Sunday School on a regular Sunday, with the annual picnic drawing an even larger crowd. It was soon clear that in order to accommodate the growing Sunday School, a substantial new building was needed. The new brick building (the present day Hall) was completed and opened in January 1930 at a cost of £1600. The next major project was provision of a parsonage for the minister and his family and in 1937 a house was purchased at 52 Highfield Road for £1600.

The original church ready for new life at Springvale - 1958